Prom is a big deal – there’s no question about it. It’s a celebratory experience for high school students to observe the coming end of a school year, have fun with friends and dress in their finest clothes.
Despite the celebratory nature of the event, there are many anxieties to prom, including asking a classmate out, having to say no, deciding whether or not to be sexually active that night, and deciding whether or not to drink. Of course, being with classmates in a social situation outside of the school environment can be incredibly anxiety provoking for students.
Perhaps one of the things that can ease the social phobias of prom is to go with a date. But guys (and perhaps girls) must first face the uncomfortable experience of asking a classmate out, which includes the horrible possible rejection, a kind of experience that is hard for most anyone. Those with a bit more courage have turned the experience of asking someone into something that mirrors the marriage proposal. Among teens, it’s known as the “promposal”, which is the act of inviting someone to prim in an elaborate fashion.
Some promposals have become incredibly elaborate, taking place in public, involving props, famous actors, dancers, and even police officers. Of course with more elaborate prom proposals come more anxiety, pressures, and intensities. Those that are doing the inviting feel even more stress with having gone all out while still facing the possibility of rejection. At the same time, the invitee also feels a pressure to say yes even if they feel a no because of the sophisticated gestures.
The pressure is getting worse, however, for those who are doing the inviting because the more ornate the cooler you are. Girls who are being asked out with a mere phone call or flowers in the hallway are not cutting it and simply aren’t cool. It’s a source of stress for both girls and boys. One student admitted, “It’s gotten to the point that if you don’t do it [the promposal], you’ll have hard time finding a date.
If you’re not a teenager today, perhaps you can remember what your own prom was like. It most likely included all sorts of pressures. Yet, it seems that the stakes have gotten higher with promposals. For teens today, boys and girls, who are feeling anxious, perhaps the best answer is not take it seriously. Let it roll off your back and simply have fun.
If you’re still feeling the pressures of prom, you can practice some deep breathing, exercise, meditation and yoga. Whatever method you use to relax will help to alleviate anxiety. Besides, you’ve got other pressures ahead, like getting into college, maintaining good grades, and establishing a rooted sense of self. Let prom be a time to enjoy yourself.